Evolution: From an insecure Zero to my own self-loving Hero
yesterday I was clever
so I wanted to change the world
today I am wise
so I am changing myself
It has been a long time since I first read this quote from Rumi. Probably about five years ago I stumbled over it while scrolling through my Instagram feed and felt instantly drawn to it. The true meaning though was still veiled for me and it took me about five more years to really grasp what Rumi wanted to illustrate.
After I had been given the support from my then partner to heal from my second burnout within a facility in Brunnen, a small, picturesque town in the canton of Uri, Switzerland, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had been given substantial help. Previously I was given medication to presumably calm my nerves or stop my brain from overthinking. This was an intensely dark time with highs, lows and numbness in between. It resembled much more a bipolar disorder than any type of constructive healing, much less anywhere near feeling or getting better. But with the care, support and right tools within only two months I could step out of the clinic and experience a fresh start within my life.
For the first time ever I started to trust my sense of love, truth and craving for creativity and purpose. I was nowhere near self-love or authenticity but I was on the way there, I had been given a compass. My walls had been broken down during my second burnout and the right people around me, with the right environment and the right tools, showed me what I wanted to feel like and what approaches I could take to stay within this range of emotions that made me feel worthy, appreciative and loving. Obviously everyone is different and what worked for me so well, might not work for everybody, but at that time it saved my life and gave me the power to set sail on my boat to start a journey across the ocean of getting to know me and find my place on this Mama Earth.
So much for a short introduction, although I feel this context is important to understand where I was coming from when I first started implementing self-development practices in my everyday life. I started journaling and wrote down at least three things I felt gratitude for every day. I took it into my own hands to create a life of meaning and purpose while an insatiable craving for belonging drove me to volunteer work.
At the time I had quit my job where I had been mistreated, underrated and underpaid to find an occupation with purpose. With a lot of time at my hands and a new energy fueling my ambition to bring love to the world, I was determined to do more than just search for a purposeful career that would make my ends meet.
Working as a volunteer for the cause of a sustainable change in our society's ways seemed like the perfect opportunity to overcome my social anxiety, lack of self-love and build up a network. Back then I did not know that I was giving all I had only to find out later that I gave way too much to prove my worth, to myself and others at the same time, by hiding behind a cause. It was typically me, diving in head first into more than eleven different volunteer associations. I declared saving the world my life's purpose and my engagements ranged from animal welfare to sustainable living. Between workshops, seminars, participations, demonstrations, activism, acting as an ambassador, a variety of executive board memberships and a part-time job, I was on the hunt for suitable posts within the uprising trend of the sustainable industry.
At first it seemed like this was it, the things I wanted to do, being within this new and growing community with the sole aim of changing our way of living to a society that was in alignment with what Mama Earth could provide for us. A world without processed food, concrete jungles and consume oriented lifestyles. Though the more I did, the more pressure I put onto myself, as well as the life I shared with my then partner, the more pressure I felt, the more I sank back into old habits. Binge eating, self-hate, uneasiness when doing nothing, social anxiety, depression, unrest, seemingly I carried the weight of our dying world on my shoulders and could not let go, much less really do anything about it. I clashed with others by advocating for Mama Earth's needs and disregarding everyone else's, imagining a better tomorrow without letting time have an impact to let change happen.
In my sustainable bubble I presumed everybody needed to adapt at the rate I was going, forgetting how stressful and arduous my life had become by following all of the rules I made out would be most benefitting for our environment. To name a few I implemented veganism, minimalism, minimal waste, organic groceries from local resources, buying nothing online and only at local, small businesses, investing hours on end for researching every piece I would need to buy new, like underwear or outdoor clothing, organising, advertising and participating in huge swaping clothes, minimalism or minimal waste events, opening a package free bulk store, sourcing my electricity from the river outside the town, buying and getting only immaterial presents that required time instead of resources, such as shared experiences with unusual activities, owning no TV and using internet access only with my smartphone, and many other techniques to have the least impact on our environment and the tiniest carbon footprint.
A very long story cut short- I tried my hardest and best to honour this world and be the change I wanted to see in it, wanting to be an example that there was another possible way of living with more awareness, more consciousness about our impact on this world.
Needless to say that I needed to make a change for myself, rather then trying to convince everyone else that I had all the answers. This was a long process because all the engagements I juggled could not be abandoned from one day to the other. Learning to be patient and relaxing even though I could not make adjustments right away, was one of the most challenging and yet most valuable lessons I learned during this time. And this was when Rumi came into my life once again. My habit of writing down all quotes that inspire me, speak to my soul, turned out to be handy. Minimalism, as part of the ordinary process of downsizing to more awareness and reflecting on consumption as a whole, made me stumble over Rumi's words this time around. Probably two years had passed since I last read these words but the impact, the connection to my heart and soul was still there- more so as now I had a glimpse of understanding of the percussion of it's wisdom. For now I had lived through the opposite of it's meaning, having lived my life solely in the belief that I had to live my life in a certain way, to make everyone else see how they should live life in order to save our planet. With the life lesson of stepping back and letting myself enjoy life and it's beauty, rather than stick to a dogmatic routine, with a focus on how humans are similar to a virus, sucking the life out of this world, I took back my power to create my perception of reality.
One year later and the most exciting new adventure of my life began when Marjorie, my dog and light of life, entered the stage. She turned not only my life around, she gave me reason, purpose, exercise, imagination, spirituality, softness, empathy and many other attributes that fueled my wish for more and more self-development.
By connecting more with nature I was shown how much beauty there was outside a flat, even a city, in solitude. My life gained tranquility and joy, love and laughter, stillness and flow, self-respect, boundaries, room to grow and thrive, dream big and take action.
The people I had in my life during this time, mostly my best friend even though not partner anymore, in addition to my work colleagues and my friends from volunteer work, gave me so much validation and appreciation that now, almost five years after I first came across Rumi's words of enlightenment, I fully grasp the meaning, the intention, the awareness behind them.
yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world
today I am wise, so I am changing myself
There is no one but me that needs to be satisfied when I look into a mirror and live with the life choices I made, no one but me to judge if I am on the right path in my personal evolution, no one but me to decide what is best for my physical and mental health as well as my spiritual growth.
Two years later and we are up to date, we are in the present and I am more in the Now than I have ever been. I feel empowered through my choices with a level of self-love and awareness I never even knew existed. I am truly happy, I feel blessed with the life I am living now. Sure, I have a lot more to learn, there will be bumps on the road and loads of challenges, changes to undergo, but I am so looking forward to all of what there is to come! As long as I have my freedom and never let it go again, try out everything I once was so convinced I could not do, love and respect myself and the power I have in creating my own reality, as long as I know that I can influence the way I react to what life is offering me and let myself float and flow and enjoy the ride, I will be more than fine.
I will be wise, hopefully, like Rumi.
Love and light, my beloved souls out there in the world